Wednesday, September 28, 2011


This weekend, some one stopped to congratulate me on the second decade of my life.
Twenty doesn't seem like a big deal... until you put it that way.

I honestly couldn't have wished for a better birthday weekend - four days of celebrating, really. 
It was spent doing two things: 
spending time with the people I love the most, and eating incredible food.

So this is just a quick post to say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who made this weekend 
(and those first two decades of my life) so fabulous. I love you all, xo.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: Fall Wishes

This week will see the arrival of autumn, though the cool weather has rushed ahead and found us already. This week will bring the end of summer and the end of an important season of my life - I will no longer be a teenager. The crisp early morning air, advertisements for pumpkin spice lattes and displays of scented pine cones have me eagerly awaiting the official start of fall, but have left me baking the last of York County peaches into cobbler, visiting Starbucks much too often and wishing for a few fall (and birthday) staples:

1. A Pair of Vibram Five Fingers
Two years ago, I was visiting Mark right after he moved to D.C. We had dinner at the Pita Pit (when I could actually eat wheat, that is) and someone walked by in the strangest shoes. I fell in love. I wanted a pair but you know, trends, they come slow to central Pennsylvania. Besides, the sizes were strange and had to be ordered online. Now that I'm doing yoga weekly and spending four days a week running, they seem like a good investment. We all know how much I hate sneakers.

2. A New Camera Bag
I've been searching for a fabulous camera bag since I was given my camera. Something... feminine. Not black. Not too big. Not too small. I've recently fallen in love with every bag from Jo Totes. Perhaps I would order one for myself if I could decide a style and more importantly, a color. Pink coral? Mustard yellow? A classic brown? Oh, decisions.

3. Brown Leather Boots
Visiting Paris in the dead of winter left me with an everlasting love of brown leather boots. Despite searching the Parisian shops, and browsing at home after, I spent the rest of winter without a pair. I'm determined not to let that happen this year. I haven't found the perfect pair yet - a pair the right shade of brown, tight around the leg, just tall enough - but this pair from Anne Klein might do the trick.

4. A New Coffee Cup
It's no secret that I'm in love with aqua and turqouise blues right now. What better way to start your morning than hot tea in a cup your favorite color? I never knew how important a travel mug would be until I got the cutest leapord print monogram mug for my birthday last year. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find it anywhere and until now, I hadn't found a reasonable replacement.

5. A New Camera
This isn't a new list but an upcoming trip to Arizona is making my need (ha) for a new camera even more pressing. While I love my rebel, the noise reduction quality? Eh. Not so much. I'm a natural light kind of girl and being able to reasonably shoot at an ISO above 200, well, let's just say, I'd be a happy girl. 
6. More Cardigans
 The poor students of Millersville have seen me in the same gray cashmere cardigan for the past week. While I love the sweater and it's rhinestone buttons, it's "hand wash only; lay flat to dry" instructions leave me without a sweater quite too often. I suppose it's time to expand my collection. I love this style from Express but perhaps black would be a better option. You can never have too many cardigans, though.
7. A New iPhone Case
If you know me at all, then you know that I am a clutz. My fumbling habits leave my iPhone battered and brusied. Somehow, I've managed to keep this one ding and scratch free for quite a few months now. But my case? Well. It's time for a replacement. Isn't this one from Jessica Swift fun?

8. Scarves
Simply put, a girl can never have too many scarves. When it's cold outside, scarves are my go to fashion accessory. I'm really loving this tribal print eternity scarf from Urban Outfitters. I've been into all things patterned, bright and with a tribal/Southwestern feel lately.

9. UGGs
Not much to say on this one. My feet are cold. Always cold.
And what college girl doesn't have a pair of classic uggs these days?

10. An Espresso Machine
I've never loved coffee but I've always loved coffee culture. Recently, I was introduced to the fabulous world of espresso. My favorite way to drink it? Added to a chai latte. The real reason I need an espresso machine though, is for it's milk steaming capabilities. When the weather turns, so does my chai from iced to hot and to be honest with you, my wallet would prefer to cut out my daily trip to Starbucks.

But more than any of these things, my biggest wish is for more Sundays spent sleeping in, having lunch dates at my favorite hole in the wall cafe (where they will serve me chai with my lunch and double check ingredients to make sure no wheat sneaks in!) & taking my favorite adopted puppy for car rides. Oh, and more mornings like today? Dirty chai and peach cobbler for breakfast? That wouldn't be too bad, either.

What are you wishing for this fall?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Udderly Awesome! ... or not.

York, Pennsylvania.
A town known as "the White Rose City"; a town not known for much.

The Greater York area has just over 100,000 residents but somehow, average attendance exceeds that amount for weekend days at the fair. In 2010, over 107 thousand people attended the fair on one Saturday alone. Why?

Well, it is America's oldest fair.

That certainly doesn't make it the best, though. 

The fair is host to a variety of things. You have the Toyota Grandstand where musical acts, big and small, take the stage. I happened to attend my first concert there - Brittany Spears and 98 Degrees, of course. Other features include shows of farm animals, petting zoos, rides and amusemants, pumpking decorating contests, pig racing, I Got It, and perhaps the best part? The food.

I've never been much of a fan of the animal portion of the fair but I suppose that it's growing on me. The longer I live away from home, the happier I am to see chickens, sheep and cows - though the overly large pigs still frighten me. (And they probably always will.) This year, the fair featured a live birthing station where you could see piglets being born each day. Personally, that's too much for me. But Aiden? Well. He found a new girlfriend there, so he's a fan.

Aiden is perhaps the only real reason that I drug myself to the fair this year. He takes after me though - he hates rides. He loves playing I Got It. And most of all, he loves planning our route with the free map you receive as part of your low $6 admission. (Do you sense the sarcasm?)

I must say that I do enjoy looking at absurd vegetable displays though. I love wondering how in the world a preschooler painted a lifelike portrait of Barney on a pumpkin. Or why a pumpkin is wearing a winter hat when Labor day has just passed.

Some pumpkins are much too enormous to paint, though. I'm not quite sure how in the world a 960 pound pumpkin is grown or how such a large vegetable makes it to the fair. What I am sure of though, is that it certainly deserved that blue ribbon.

While I understand the allure of an overly enormous gourd, I'm not quite sure why an entire building is dedicated to showcasing fruits and vegetables grown across the county. Perhaps I would be more interested if you could purchase and or consume the delicious looking produce.

The peaches sure were tempting.

Nestled among the fruit and vegetable displays were flowers, canned jellies and a display about bees, hosted by Penn State, of course. At least there is some educational value in going to the fair. Perhaps that's the meaning behind student day.

It's not all about learning though. Sometimes you have to break down and enjoy the food faire of the fair. Like deep fried oreos. Funnel cake. Sausage sandwiches. Okay... I wish. But cotton candy will always do. And R.C. Cola? Not sure about that part but for some reason, it's all that is sold at the fair. Even Flipside tweeted about the absurdity of that one.

One of my favorite fair activities though has nothing to do with consuming fattening food, feeling nauseous on carnival rides or spending absurd amounts of ones on games I will never win. I love seeing what the latest clothing trends of York county are. As you can see, Aiden has his look under control. We thought that dark jeans, blue/white striped shirts and Ray Ban style sunglasses were the way to go. Believe it or not, we didn't plan to coordinate. (It's telekinesis, we swear.)

My favorite fashion trend this year though, other than way too short of shorts or Tweety Bird t-shirts, had to be the amount of Hope for Cope shirts that I saw. If you squint, you can tell that the cancer ribbon shirt above includes the name of Jazmine Rae Cope, a brave teenager who fought her hardest against cancer. It's incredible to see so much love in our community for Jazmine, her family and her foundation. If you aren't aware of Hope for Cope Foundation or their mission, check out their website!

After a disappointing and rainy day at the fair, we did manage to find a little bit of fun underneath a big red tent. For those of you who have never played, you don't quite know what you're missing. A man with a microphone makes silly rhymes about numbers while you throw bouncy red balls into the squares above. 5 in a row? Well, you've got it.

We even won.

Perhaps if my Kohr's Orangeade has tasted less like water and more like oranges, I wouldn't be so bitter. But for now, my opinion is that the York Fair wasn't quite as "Udderly Awesome" as it claims to be. But if you're in the area, you've still got two days to see for yourself. (And if all else, a game of I Got It is only 50 cents, which is quite a consolation.)

Until next year.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

These few golden days, I'd share with you.

It's only the first week of September and I already can't seem to shake the coldness in my feet. After spending the day walking around campus through puddles, recently formed rivers and downpours... well, it feels good to be tucked away in my bed on the third floor.

Tomorrow, I may only venture out of my apartment for two things: to do laundry and to buy rain boots. Each time it storms I think "I really need new rain boots" (I've outgrown mine) and neglect to buy them, thinking that it will be sunny enough soon. This time, the rain is expected to continue for six out of the next ten days. (Besides, Millersville forces me to walk further to class than the entire length of Penn State York's campus.)

Though I knew the rain was to come, it still came as a shock to me as we pulled in to a Baltimore gas station late on Monday night. After a warm (or mostly warm), sunny, weekend spent at the beach, the cold rain was an unwelcome marker of my arrival home.

So, now, in an attempt to feel dry, and to even just feel my toes, I'm daydreaming of beach chairs, seagulls, reggae music, fresh seafood, private beaches, and outdoor showers. The sunburn covering my body from neck to knees helps to remind me of just how sunny, warm and perfect the weekend was.

While it's true that vacation (and any chance to leave York, really) is always recharging for me, I decided to take this last-minute, essentially unplanned trip a bit further - I turned my cell phone off for three days. Other than to turn my phone on and send a quick text to check in with my mom, this morning was the first time I used my phone since I left at 3:00 on Saturday. That meant no e-mail, no text messaging, no Pinterest, no Google - I didn't even see Sunday Secrets until late last night. And the PostSecret app is just now downloading as I type.

So many professors had spent "syllabus week" drilling in their no technology policy. No cell phones. No laptops. No technological distraction. As one professor put the issue, we as college students, we're all facing a crisis - "technological ADD".

We've all noticed it in our own lives. The person in front of you at the check out line chatting away on their phone while the cashier tries to ask them questions. Your dinner date who is constantly nodding and saying "uh-huh" as he or she texts under the table. The friend who is attempting to drive down the highway, change the radio station and use their phone's GPS, all at once. Day in and day out, we let our cell phones interrupt personal moments, work shifts and classes too.

My frustration with constant connection has been growing like spores of bacteria in a petri dish. The constant pressure of replying to messages and e-mails quickly and effectively is burdensome and distracting. In writing a one page essay, I found myself checking facebook four times and replying to three different e-mails. I knew I needed a break from all the distractions that technology can bring.

After reading Kelle Hampton's post "Unplugged, Plugged,"I felt even more inspired to turn my phone off for a while and to tuck it away where I wouldn't be tempted by apps, dinging e-mails and texts from friends. She knows what she's talking about.

For almost four days, my only vice was my iPod. There's nothing as relaxing as some of your favorite music while your toes are buried in the sand. The only problem with that scenario is unburying your feet quick enough to run from the high tide and rough waves that covered the beach all weekend.

The other aspect of leaving home that I love is the food. I've never eaten so well. Possibly not even in France.

Spinach salad with glazed bay scallops, fresh mango, pineapple and shredded coconut? I'll take it.
Pan seared swordfish with risotto and pesto? Yes, please.
Smoked duck breast over sweet corn risotto? Delicious.
Salmon in a brown sugar tomato glaze, served over homemade potato salad? Yum.
Smoked trout dip with home made tortilla chips? Always a good idea.

It's important to have the time to sit down and enjoy food - good, local, organic food, "slow food."
While I try to do as much of that as I can at home, on vacation the time spent eating doesn't matter.

Every now and then (even for me) it's important to take a food days to relax without the stress of work, school, laundry, grocery shopping, even the gym. I'm not sure what it was - the rough water, great company, delicious food or being without a cell phone for a few days but I feel recharged and ready to take on whatever September brings.